Sunday, February 26, 2012

Oracle of Seasons: Hero's Cave Chest Puzzle

As I already mentioned, I'm currently revising guides for ZeldaEurope. Right now I'm working on the Oracle guides and today I made this nice graphic for the final puzzle in the Hero's Cave from Oracle of Seasons. I thought I also could share this here, since I have been neglecting my blog lately (in favor of ZeldaEurope and Minecraft :D):

Well, if you ever happen to get to this room, you can use my solution. As an explanation, the floor tiles resemble Holodrum. There's the desert in the southeast, the sunken city in the northeast, the mountains in the north and the lakes in the center. The eight chests stand for the eight dungeons in the game and you have to open them in the proper order.

There's also a nice trick for the room before this one. There's this nasty Boomerang puzzle, where you have to throw the Magical Boomerang through a tight tunnel, which is difficult to do. For the trick just stand in the lower right corner of the room next to the blocks and throw the boomerang up. Then walk left, so that the boomerang hits the switch on its way back to you. It will move right through the blocks.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Skyward Sword Collector's Guide

I just received the Prima Collector's Edition Strategy Guide of Skyward Sword joining my collection of guide books. I didn't even know there was one for Skyward Sword until two weeks ago. It came out on the same day as Skyward Sword, but with the game in my hands and all the news around the 25th Anniversary I totally missed it. Well, now I got it anyway from a seller in the UK.

Here are some pictures, first how the guide looks wrapped in plastic:

The content description on the back side is just a sheet. Unwrapped the back side is completely light blue.

Overall the guide has the same look as always, just a light blue color this time and a different golden framing on the front cover, like always. But with its 272 pages this is the shortest of the four Collector's Guides. The 320 page Spirit Tracks guide already looked quite thin in comparison to the previous two guides, but this one is even slimmer.

The cloth map has the same quality as the one from the Twilight Princess guide. However, of all the maps this has to be the most useless one. It only shows the ingame map with the names of the individual areas. The maps for Twilight Princess, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks at least showed you important information like locations of Heart Pieces and other collectible items. That's completely missing from this cloth map, it's really just a gimmick and not a help.

Visually this guide is probably the best looking one of the four. It's full of nice artwork and pleasent to the eyes. The other guides usually had the problem of bad quality screenshots, but not this one. However, while the guide looks nice, content-wise it's the most lacking one. I just roughly skipped over the guide, but there are already many things I've noticed. First of all... there are no seperate lists for Pieces of Hearts and Goddess Cubes! I'm not joking, they don't have lists for these. If you want the location of all Heart Pieces and Goddess Cubes, you have to search through the whole walkthrough. This is quite unpractical. What if I miss one single Piece of Heart? If I can't find it, I want a list, where I can check, what pieces I've got. It's no wonder that this guide is so much slimmer than the others, the other three got at least their "legendary checklists".

Another bad example is the Imprisoned. There they didn't feature the tactic, where you jump on its head, they always just tell you to go for the toes, which can be very dangerous. Jumping on the head is the easiest and safest way to beat the Imprisoned in all three fights. If he grows a pair of arms, just use the Groosenator to stun him first. This is especially helpful in the Lightning Round. But it's these kinds of things that show you that the guide was written in haste. I will probably update the post with some other flaws later on.

Well, I'm happy that I've written my own guides, because I wouldn't want to rely on this one. The guide is simply just a collectible item for fans.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ganondorf in Oracle of Ages and Seasons

The Hyrule Historia is full of interesting artwork, History of Hyrule now released an entire collection of the art found in the book. You can find the collection on ZeldaEurope.

One image that immediatly catched my eye was a Ganondorf concept art made for the Oracle games:

It is so interesting, because Ganondorf doesn't appear in the Oracles, only a brainless Ganon. This raises various question. Was it something that was originally planned for the third game? Or did they plan a more extensive linking story? Was Ganondorf going to be the main antagonist instead of Twinrova? There was probably a text next to it explaining the concept art, but I couldn't find any translations.

But I like it. He looks more wicked than his other versions in Ocarina of Time, the Wind Waker and Twilight Princess, which definitely fits the theme of the Oracle games. Sadly this storyline was dropped, it would have been very interesting.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nintendo Letter Box Message for Zelda Fans

The Nintendo Direct Conference just came to an end. Of course there wasn't anything to be expected for Zelda, they didn't even show Luigi's Mansion 2. Though there is a new game from Vanpool, the studio that made the Tingle games, which is available for download as of NOW (in Europe) and doesn't look too bad. More about that later on.

Well, at the end they announced that the downloadable Letter Box software for the 3DS will receive specialized messages based on what games you've played on your 3DS. During this announcement Nintendo of Europe inserted a little pop up message that Zelda fans can look forward to a little surprise in the next couple of days. It's probably just some stupid scrawl, but I'll keep you posted.

Update: this is the message. Just a teaser from Aonuma, nothing special. (Source.) Though it is interesting, that the "New" got capitalized. As in New Super Mario Bros. Probably means nothing and "New Legend of Zelda" would sound terribly, though I would like to see an approach going back to the NES Zelda basics. Also, note that he says "games" as in plural, probably because they currently work on both the 3DS and the WiiU Zelda simultaniously.

Well, we've just entered the Zelda void, so every tiny bit of news gets suddenly interesting. xD

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Four Swords Anniversary Edition Gone

Happy 26th Anniversary, everybody!

To celebrate the new year of the Zelda franchise Nintendo just removed the Zelda Anniversary channel from the eShop and with it the Four Swords Anniversary Edition. You can't even purchase the game, it's just gone. With that right now Four Swords just became the hardest to play Zelda game again, unless of course you have a DSi or a 3DS with the game installed. I guess those units will be very valueable in a few years unless Nintendo decides to rerelease the game for purchase.

It even appears that I can't redownload the game in case I delete it. It's listed in my downloaded games, but instead of a blank download button (like with the other downloaded software) you only get a message saying "currently not available". Well, I haven't tried deleting and redownloading the game, I would be extremely stupid to do that.

Update: It appears that you can redownload the game.

Of course it might be that Nintendo rereleases the game because of "popular demand" and sell it for eight bucks or whatever. Removing the game increases the interest in it, because it now suddenly turned from a "boring free game" into something rare. They could also release a new version of the game minus the "Anniversary Edition" brand, maybe even with some new content. But it's doubtful and it would raise the question, whether everybody (including people who got the Anniversary Edition) has to pay for it or not.

Well, I'm happy that I got Four Swords installed on my 3DS, because I certainly wouldn't want to miss it. Of all the anniversary stuff this is my favorite, with the Realm of Memories stage you can play through all four generations of 2D Zelda (NES, SNES, GameBoy and GBA), all in one experience. And the Hero's Trial is the most badass challenge in the entire Zelda series. It's definitely not the best Zelda game, but it's enjoyable, both in mutliplayer and singleplayer.

Monday, February 20, 2012

End of 25th Anniversary

This is it. The 25th Anniversary ends today. If you haven't downloaded the Four Swords Anniversary Edition, this is your last chance to get the game (for free). It's still unknown, whether the game will be available for purchase after or removed from the eShop alltogether. But it's likely that they will sell the game later because of "popular demand".

Well, the 25th Anniversary delivered without any doubt the greatest year, the Zelda franchise has seen. Ocarina of Time 3D, the Four Swords Anniversary Edition and Skyward Sword were released during the time span of the anniversary and to celebrate Nintendo offered many different events and merchandise. Here's again the overview from my 2011 article:

  • Robin and Zelda Williams commercials for Ocarina of Time 3D,
    Four Swords Anniversary Edition and Skyward Sword
  • Ocarina of Time 3D Soundtrack CD for all early registrations
  • Link's Awakening DX as the first GameBoy Color Virtual Console game
  • a special remake of Four Swords dedicated to the anniversary available for FREE
  • a Zelda Flipnote contest
  • Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony orchestras spawning the Symphony of the Goddesses tour
  • Zelda 25th Anniversary Symphony CD bundled with all first edition copies of Skyward Sword
  • Golden Wiimote bundled with the Limited Edition of Skyward Sword
  • special Zelda stage in Super Mario 3D Land
  • three 25th Anniversary Zelda eShop cards
  • Zelda 25th Anniversary Nintendo 3DS Limited Edition Bundle
  • Golden Nunchuk (only Japanese Club Nintendo so far)
  • Hyrule Historia Artbook (only Japan so far) revealing the official Zelda timeline
  • other merchandise like t-shirts and posters

Nintendo really has put A LOT of effort into the 25th Anniversary of Zelda. A lot more than what they did for Mario and Metroid hasn't seen any celebration yet. My personal favorites have to be the Four Swords Anniversary Edition and the Hyrule Historia book. Both offered things I've been waiting to get for YEARS. An accessible Four Swords and the official timeline. Finally I can enjoy all of Four Swords whenever I want without being dependent on a second player, I'm really happy about the singleplayer and the new levels are great. And I never was someone, who enjoyed all the timeline debates, so I welcome the official one, which might not be flawless, but is still pretty good.

The Zelda themed hardware is also nice, though I had my troubles with the 3DS, as you all know. And there are some things, where I still didn't have the chance to enjoy them, like the Zelda orchestra. I still hope that the Symphony of the Goddess tour comes to Germany and to a city nearby, I would definitely go there then. And I still couldn't get any of these Zelda eShop cards, it seems they are only available at GameStop and I don't have one nearby. Maybe next time I go to Berlin, but I don't have any plans yet. And because of the Zelda eShop cards I don't want to buy any normal ones, which is why I have yet to enjoy Link's Awakening DX (or any other GameBoy game) on my 3DS.

And there isn't really anything Nintendo could have done more to celebrate the anniversary. I was only disappointed, that here in Germany the Club Nintendo didn't offer any interesting Zelda merchandise, except for the Golden Link and Epona statue, which nobody can effort, and a Link towel. Yes, a towel. I still have tons of bonus stars and I was hoping that for the anniversary Nintendo would offer some nice prices. But there weren't any, I'm still sitting on my Club Nintendo stars. And there was quite some good merchandise made by Nintendo (like posters, pens, small ocarinas), but they didn't offer any of it for the Club Nintendo, which is a shame. And of course they could have released more downloadable Zelda games. Like the Oracle games or the Game & Watch Zelda. But focusing on Four Swords and Link's Awakening instead was probably the smarter choice, one free game to lure them in and another one for purchase. Link's Awakening DX was (and probably still is) the best selling eShop game. And it's good that they saved games like the Oracles for later to fill the empty void we're heading through until the release of the next Zelda game.

Well, you can't say it enough, this was probably the most exciting year for a Zelda fan ever. We got nice games, great merchandise, cool music and a constent wave of Zelda related news. And the above list shows only the official efforts done by Nintendo. Zelda fans all over the world celebrated in their own way and done their bit to the anniversary, there's tons of great art to consume, funny videos, epic artworks, nice cosplays and many more. It was a great year to be a Zelda fan. And it's doubtful that there will be another big year like this until the golden anniversary in 2036. Nintendo didn't celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Zelda and that was the year when Twilight Princess came out. Only few people recognized the 20th Anniversary of Zelda, I personally didn't even think about that at the time. But celebrating an anniversary seems like a big deal in the video game industry at the moment. Mario 25 years, Zelda 25 years and now Street Fighter 25 years, Mega Man 25 years, Epic Games 20 years. Everybody celebrates. So, it's hard to tell, whether this trend will continue and Nintendo will celebrate the 30th or 40th Anniversary or not. Or if it's really just the silver/golden quarter century anniversaries that get celebrated. It's also a question of marketing. On an old system like the Wii Skyward Sword needed every boost, which is probably the reason, why Nintendo did so many things to get attention on Zelda.

On to 25 more great years...

Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Hyrules of Heroism

Some fellow asked me to advertise his short fiction revolving around the original The Legend of Zelda game. So, that's what I'll do. It's nicely written and has a good but decent sense of humor. Here's a quote I liked:

There are other princesses out there. Princesses far more beautiful than Zelda, and held in much looser captivity. Hell, there is a princess you could free simply by jumping over some ugly green fellow who spits fireballs.

If you're interested in the story, check out the link:

The Evolving Existentialist: The Hyrules of Heroism

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Oracle of Ages and Seasons: Rings at Chest Game

I'm currently revising various guides for ZeldaEurope before the site gets relaunched somewhen later this year. Usually quests and sidequests in Zelda are pretty simple, so the guides are easy to correct. But with the guide for the Magic Rings in the Oracle games I stumbled over a sidequest, which is a science on its own. The only other games to use random mechanics are the ones on the Nintendo DS, Phantom Hourglass and Spirit Tracks. But while the ship parts and treasures are gotten randomly, it all follows simple patterns. Not so with the rings in the Oracle games. Some rings can only be gotten in one place. Those are the easy ones to describe. Others may have fixed places, but can also be gotten randomly. Others can only be gotten from sources for random rings. These sources can be Maple, Gasha Nuts, minigames, Fortune Links and other places. However, it's not as simple as in the Nintendo DS games, where you have a giant pool of random items. Only in certain minigames you can win certain rings. Only soil patches found later in the game may produce very rare rings like the Green Ring. And so on. There are many different rules here.

I'm still not entirely sure what gives what. And there's no site or guide on the internet, which really deals with all of this in detail. Usually the guides just say "you can find this ring randomly", but it's not as simple as that. So, I started a little research in order to create the bets fucking Magic Ring guide out there yet. One thing I've already covered is the Treasure Chest Game in the Horon and Lynna Secret Shops.

To play the game you have to pay 10 Rupees. There's a 50% chance to pick the right chest, you can win a ring for opening three, four or five chests in a row. I used an emulator and quick saving to make sure to win as many rings as possible in all three categories. This is what I've got:

Three consecutive chests: Cursed Ring x4, Blue Luck Ring x7, Green Holy Ring x6, Blue Holy Ring x3, Red Holy Ring x6, Octo Ring x4, Moblin Ring x5, Like Like Ring x9

Four consecutive chests: Maple's Ring x4, Toss Ring x5, Red Luck Ring x2, Roc's Ring x6, Quicksand Ring x5, Whisp Ring x7, Zora Ring x4, Fist Ring x3

Five consecutive chests: Power Ring L-2 x8, Heart Ring L-2 x6, Red Joy Ring x5, Peace Ring x13, Gasha Ring x7, Whimsical Ring x6, Protection Ring x5

It doesn't matter, whether you play the game in Oracle of Seasons or Ages. The rings are the same. But I'd say this is not a very reliable source if you're looking for a specific ring. Also, it's hard to win the game, you will waste a lot of Rupees unless you're very lucky.

Update: On the Virtual Console you can use Restore Points for this game. Just create one before picking the first chest. The order of the chests is determined before the game, so the one Restore Point at the beginning is good enough, just remember the chests. It's a very good way of getting the rare Heart Ring L-2 and some other useful rings. Also, the results correspondent to the first three tiers of random rings. So, you can also use Gasha Trees to get them all.

By the way in the Lynna Shooting Gallery you can win the Blue Holy Ring, the Red Luck Ring, the Octo-Ring and the Light Ring L-2 by scoring 350 points or more. For the latter this is the ONLY way to win the ring. It gets even worse with the Bomber's Ring, that can only be gotten from a perfect core at the Platinum level in the aweful Goron Dance minigame.